Athletes Who Won’t Be Joining Us in 2017
The year 2016 brought about many new things with everything ranging from technological advancements that have allowed cars to pilot themselves to holding the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Although we have seen remarkable political and cultural events all throughout the past year, unfortunately, many notable athletes have passed away. Sports fans across the U.S. have mourned the deaths athletes and others involved in the sports field.
Many NFL players have passed away over the last year. Dennis Byrd, a former Jets defensive lineman, died October 5th during a car accident. Byrd’s career was cut short in 1992 after he sustained a spinal cord injury. Miraculously, he recovered and moved on to be a motivational speaker. Rashaan Salaam also died on December 5th. Salaam played for the Chicago Bears as a running back. During high school, he played for the University of Colorado and won a Heisman trophy in 1994.
The NBA also lost some souls throughout the year including sideline reporter Craig Sager. Sager lost his battle against cancer on December 15th at the age of 65. Greg Ballard also passed away. The small forward played for the Wizards for eight seasons before going on to play two seasons with the Golden State Warriors. He then went on be an Assistant Coach and scouting agent for the Atlanta Hawks. Unfortunately, Ballard lost his fight with prostate cancer at the age of 61.
Two-time light welterweight champion Aaron Pryor also lost his life this past year and left a legacy for people to remember him by. Pryor was inducted into the international Boxing Hall of Fame in 1999. Although he struggled with addiction and various health issues throughout his life, when he died of heart disease, it was after years of sobriety. The Scottish boxer “Iron” Mike Towell died November 2nd. Towell had been complaining about headaches but wrote them off as signs of stress. After being hospitalized after a fight, Towell died from bleeding and swelling in the brain.
With the loss of so many souls, going into 2017 feels like a time to honor both those who have left us and those who continue to excel in their fields.